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The Future Is Bright for CIOs

Guest Author

This blog was contributed by Amanda Dyer, Content Strategist, at Oracle.

“CIO actually stands for ‘Career Is Over,’” joked John Repko, Johnson Controls CIO and panelist at the recent The Future of Business Executive Forum sponsored by Oracle and Intel at Carnegie Hall. It got a knowing laugh. In an age where getting pulled in front of Congress to talk about your latest breach sounds less like a hypothetical and more like a real possibility to the 40 technology leaders in the crowd, you wouldn’t think that the tenor of the event would be hopeful. But it was.

It’s clear that the modern CIO faces some real challenges. Oracle CEO Mark Hurd outlined them in rapid succession in an insightful talk that kicked off the forum. The gist: Many CIOs are facing pressure to innovate while maintaining increasingly complex systems that suck up 80 percent of their budgets. And don’t forget the constant worry that any day now, they’ll be hacked.

But still, when Hurd and other panelists of the day were asked whether it was a good time to be in tech, the answer was “yes.” Their hopefulness seemed to rest on what the speakers viewed as a coming fundamental shift in the status quo—the disappearance of the traditional data center and the move toward automation. By getting out of the maintenance game, CIOs have more budget to invest in innovation. And with automation, the worry that they’ll be breached while sitting on a yet-to-be-deployed patch simply goes away. With those two advantages in their pocket, the day’s experts argued, CIOs can succeed in their number one mission: executing the business’ strategy through IT.

The trick, though, is to start now. “As this thing moves ahead, it’s going to be very difficult competitively to have not moved,” Hurd said to the crowd of IT leaders, “not so much just because of the technical superiority of the solution, but as much because of the implications from a business model, and frankly, a microeconomic perspective. Waiting, he said, creates an obstacle that will be too difficult for the business to overcome.

But other panelists were quick to point out that it’s not a move to the cloud or the adoption of a new technology alone that will ensure the success of a business. It’s the adoption of that technology to solve a business problem. Working with other leaders within the business to identify that problem, then using the right technology to solve it, is what makes a good IT leader.

Success as a CIO isn’t easy, the day’s experts seemed to agree, but with today’s technology, it’s getting easier.

For more information about The Future of Business Executive Forum or other executive events, please contact Celeste Bishop at celeste.bishop@oracle.com.

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